New Springfield City Council president wants to repair community-police relationships

Ramos will be sworn-in January 2

FILE- Orlando Ramos

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) –  The Springfield City Council will officially elect their new president next week.

Orlando Ramos, Ward 8 councilor and current vice-president, was unanimously elected as president by his colleagues on December 19. He will officially take over for Mike Fenton, who served three terms as president, on January 2 when he is sworn-in.

Public safety tops Ramos’ agenda.

“We have to do whatever we can to help repair the relationship between the community and law enforcement,” the new president said.

Just last week, the city council voted to override Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and eliminate the Office of Police Commissioner after several allegations of misconduct.

Councilor Ramos said now it’s a waiting game to see if the mayor cooperates by the 2019 deadline, which is when Police Commissioner John Barbieri’s contract expires.

Ramos said the controversy surrounding the office of the police commissioner has sparked another debate: The need for police body cameras.

“We have spent millions of dollars on cases related to alleged police misconduct, and in a lot of cases, these officers were innocent but there was no video,” Ramos said. “We ended up settling those cases.”

According to a news release sent to 22News from Councilor Ramos, he has chosen State Senator Jim Welch to give the oath of office and his daughter Ariana to lead the pledge of allegiance on January 2.

Ramos will be the second Latino councilor to become president of the Springfield City Council. The first was now-State Representative Jose Tosado.